Reissner–Nordström metric

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In physics and astronomy, the Reissner–Nordström metric is a static solution to the Einstein–Maxwell field equations, which corresponds to the gravitational field of a charged, non-rotating, spherically symmetric body of mass M.

The metric was discovered by Hans Reissner,[1] Hermann Weyl,[2] Gunnar Nordström[3] and George Barker Jeffery.[4]

The metric[edit]

In spherical coordinates (t, r, θ, φ), the line element for the Reissner–Nordström metric is

where c is the speed of light, t is the time coordinate (measured by a stationary clock at infinity), r is the radial coordinate, dΩ² is a 2-sphere defined by

rs is the Schwarzschild radius of the body given by

and rQ is a characteristic length scale given by

Here 1/4πε0 is Coulomb force constant K.

The total mass of the central body and its irreducible mass are related by[5][6]


The difference between M and Mirr is due to the equivalence of mass and energy, which makes the electric field energy also contribute to the total mass.

In the limit that the charge Q (or equivalently, the length-scale rQ) goes to zero, one recovers the Schwarzschild metric. The classical Newtonian theory of gravity may then be recovered in the limit as the ratio rs/r goes to zero. In that limit that both rQ/r and rs/r go to zero, the metric becomes the Minkowski metric for special relativity.

In practice, the ratio rs/r is often extremely small. For example, the Schwarzschild radius of the Earth is roughly 9 mm (3/8 inch), whereas a satellite in a geosynchronous orbit has a radius r that is roughly four billion times larger, at 42,164 km (26,200 miles). Even at the surface of the Earth, the corrections to Newtonian gravity are only one part in a billion. The ratio only becomes large close to black holes and other ultra-dense objects such as neutron stars.

Charged black holes[edit]

Although charged black holes with rQ ≪ rs are similar to the Schwarzschild black hole, they have two horizons: the event horizon and an internal Cauchy horizon.[7] As with the Schwarzschild metric, the event horizons for the spacetime are located where the metric component grr diverges; that is, where

This equation has two solutions:

These concentric event horizons become degenerate for 2rQ = rs, which corresponds to an extremal black hole. Black holes with 2rQ > rs can not exist in nature because if the charge is greater than the mass there can be no physical event horizon[8] (the term under the square root becomes negative). Objects with a charge greater than their mass can exist in nature, but they can not collapse down to a black hole, and if they could, they would display a naked singularity.[9] Theories with supersymmetry usually guarantee that such "superextremal" black holes cannot exist.

The electromagnetic potential is

If magnetic monopoles are included in the theory, then a generalization to include magnetic charge P is obtained by replacing Q2 by Q2 + P2 in the metric and including the term Pcos θ  in the electromagnetic potential.[clarification needed]

Gravitational time dilation[edit]

The gravitational time dilation in the vicinity of the central body is given by

which relates to the local radial escape-velocity of a neutral particle

Christoffel symbols[edit]

The Christoffel symbols

with the indicies

give the nonvanishing expressions

Given the Christoffel symbols, one can compute the geodesics of a test-particle.[10][11]

Equations of motion[edit]

Because of the spherical symmetry of the metric, the coordinate system can always be aligned in a way that the motion of a test-particle is confined to a plane, so for brevity and without restriction of generality we further use Ω instead of θ and φ. In dimensionless natural units of G = M = c = K = 1 the motion of an electrically charged particle with the charge q is given by

which gives

The total time dilation between the test-particle and an observer at infinity is

The first derivatives and the contravariant components of the local 3-velocity are related by

which gives the initial conditions

The specific orbital energy

and the specific relative angular momentum

of the test-particle are conserved quantities of motion. and are the radial and transverse components of the local velocity-vector. The local velocity is therefore

Alternative formulation of metric[edit]

The metric can alternatively be expressed like this:

Notice that k is a unit vector. Here M is the constant mass of the object, Q is the constant charge of the object, and η is the Minkowski tensor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reissner, H. (1916). "Über die Eigengravitation des elektrischen Feldes nach der Einsteinschen Theorie". Annalen der Physik (in German). 50: 106–120. Bibcode:1916AnP...355..106R. doi:10.1002/andp.19163550905. 
  2. ^ Weyl, H. (1917). "Zur Gravitationstheorie". Annalen der Physik (in German). 54: 117–145. Bibcode:1917AnP...359..117W. doi:10.1002/andp.19173591804. 
  3. ^ Nordström, G. (1918). "On the Energy of the Gravitational Field in Einstein's Theory". Verhandl. Koninkl. Ned. Akad. Wetenschap., Afdel. Natuurk., Amsterdam. 26: 1201–1208. 
  4. ^ Jeffery, G. B. (1921). "The field of an electron on Einstein's theory of gravitation". Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. A. 99: 123–134. Bibcode:1921RSPSA..99..123J. doi:10.1098/rspa.1921.0028. 
  5. ^ Thibault Damour: Black Holes: Energetics and Thermodynamics, S. 11 ff.
  6. ^ Ashgar Quadir: The Reissner Nordström Repulsion
  7. ^ Chandrasekhar, S. (1998). The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes (Reprinted ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 205. ISBN 0-19850370-9. Archived from the original on 29 April 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013. And finally, the fact that the Reissner–Nordström solution has two horizons, an external event horizon and an internal 'Cauchy horizon,' provides a convenient bridge to the study of the Kerr solution in the subsequent chapters. 
  8. ^ Andrew Hamilton: The Reissner Nordström Geometry Archived 2007-07-07 at the Wayback Machine. (Casa Colorado)
  9. ^ Carter, Brandon. Global Structure of the Kerr Family of Gravitational Fields, Physical Review, page 174
  10. ^ Leonard Susskind: The Theoretical Minimum: Geodesics and Gravity, (General Relativity Lecture 4, timestamp: 34m18s)
  11. ^ Eva Hackmann, Hongxiao Xu: Charged particle motion in Kerr–Newmann space-times


External links[edit]